We plan our Animal Kingdom day much the same as others except it’s a day we try to get to the park early. Why you ask? Today is all about the Safari and the animals seem to be more active in the cooler temperatures of the morning hours.
When we have family with us, we love to make breakfast reservations for the Tusker House. The food is very good and you get to meet Donald, Goofy, Mickey and Minnie! It is a little pricy but it is worth doing when family members have never been before.
But this blog is for adults so let’s say it is just my wife and I. We like to arrive just before the park opens at 9:00 am and we walk directly to Kilimanjaro Safari and walk through the Queue area to board our safari truck for our safari.
We used to take a camera and a video camera with us but now it’s just our smart phones that get used for photos. I always say I’m not going to take pictures…… and ALWAYS end up taking some. There is something about seeing that rhino so close to the truck that just screams, “take a picture”.
After our bumpy ride we always walk the Pangini Forest Exploration Trail and we enjoy seeing all the animals and birds. But the real reason we do it is to see the Western Lowland Gorillas! I could… and have watched them for hours.
Here’s some info from Disney’s website…….
The gorilla habitats at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park are based on extensive research into the species’ natural history.
Paradise Found A lush and sprawling tropical forest—complete with hills, tall grasses, shade trees, rocks, shrubs, waterfalls, dead trees and stumps—provides opportunities for our troops of gorillas to rest, communicate, interact, hide and explore just as they would in the wild. As in the wild, our gorillas enjoy a complex diet that includes over 100 different varieties of fresh plants, vegetables and fruits, plus vitamin and mineral supplements and a specially formulated primate chow. Popular food items are rotated daily to keep the animals guessing what will be on the day’s menu!
Animal Enrichment Enrichment is a guiding principle for our animal care experts. Their goal is to create opportunities that encourage gorillas to interact with their environment and display natural behaviors like playing, nesting and foraging for food. Items like tubs, bags, blankets, toys and puzzle feeders are staged around their habitat at various times each day, and often contain food to encourage natural foraging and object manipulation. These enrichment tools are designed to increase the gorillas’ physical activity, stimulate their problem-solving abilities and offer them real choices, just like in the wild.
Veterinary Care: We Heart Gorillas Heart disease can be a serious concern with zoo gorillas. But how do you get a 450-pound silverback male to stand still for a heart exam? Luckily, our “patients” are intelligent and cooperative! The gorillas participate in their own preventive health care, from cardiac and fetal ultrasounds to blood pressure measurements, injections and physical therapy. Through verbal cues, hand signals and special rewards like fruit, gorillas learn to present their chests to a special area for an echocardiogram, with the animal care staff only inches away—on the other side of a safety barrier, of course. Previously, heart exams required sedating the gorillas, which made the test results less accurate. Today, Disney’s pioneering veterinary work with gorillas is being adopted by other zoos—and has been incorporated into The Gorilla Health Project by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)!
After we’ve enjoyed the trail it is usually time for our first Fast Pass. We love the shows at Animal Kingdom. We see the Festival of the Lion King after our Gorilla sighting. The first show is at 10:00 AM and we try to book this in advance with FastPass+.
The Festival of the Lion King is fun and entertaining even after seeing so many times I can’t count. But we also spend a lot of time watching peoples reaction to the show. We love watching first timers! We really love the Tumble Monkeys.
As we leave the theater after the 30 minute show, we walk towards Expedition Everest which just so happens to be our next Fast Pass. We try to arrange it for 11:30 AM to 12:00 noon. Sometimes we will catch Devine hanging around on our way.
But we try to time it so we are walking by Flights of Wonder for the 10:45 AM show. It’s a 25 minute show which is fun, entertaining and educational as well. And if you are following along, fits perfectly in our timing.
We love Bwana Joe!
After seeing all the different birds, big and small, we head for our visit with the Yeti! It’s a short walk from the Flights of Wonder to Expedition Everest.
The ride is extremely smooth as you ride the train up the mountain and begin your high speed journey. But the best part is after you realize the Yeti has ripped the track up. I won’t spoil it for anyone by giving more details but this is a fun attraction!
OK….. it’s now time for lunch and we usually include our all time favorite Counter Service in our plan. We love the Flametree BBQ and it’s yummy food. But we also love the fact that we are eating outside and yes…… seeing our friends the ducks! Please don’t feed them, but enjoy watching them.
I usually order the 1/2 chicken served with Baked Beans and Jalapeno Cornbread for $10.99 and Patti usually gets the Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich served with fresh fruit for $9.49.
After our lunch we watch and enjoy the 1:00 PM showing of, Finding Nemo the Musical! There is no need to fast pass this show. The theater is big and we’ve never failed to get a good seat.
This show never fails to entertain us. We love everything about this show. Here’s a little tip that will help you enjoy it too. Do not sit up front! I’ve seen many people try to sit in the first row and guess what? They can’t see the whole show. Parts of the show are behind them. As you enter the theater, try to position yourself about ten rows up above the main isle. You will get a much better view of everything.
This is one of the longest shows as it runs nearly 40 minutes long, but it is on our “must do” list on every trip!
It’s now time for our last fast pass of our day at Animal Kingdom with a ride on Dinosaur. We try to get our FastPass+ for 2:00 to 2:30. This attraction has become one of my favorites since we experienced it for the first time about four years ago.
It’s a dark and bumpy ride but it is especially fun if you have first timers riding it in the same vehicle. One year we struck up a conversation with two ladies in front of us who appeared to be very nervous. After we calmed them down I said just be sure to sit in front of us…. you will be OK. They did and when we got to the part where all the lights go out, I reached up and grabbed their shoulders. They both let out a scream that had my ears ringing. We all laughed about that after we finished riding and I’m sure it is something they never will forget.
Once we are done with Dinosaur our first day at Animal Kingdom is done also. As we exit the park we decide what we will do for the rest of the day. If it’s hot and sunny, we usually head back to our resort for a swim and a couple of adult beverages. If we are not hot and tired we will park hop to Epcot for a while. Especially if we are there during the Flower and Garden Festivals or the Food and Wine Festivals. We love it when they have good musical acts at the American Garden Theater.
If you have been following along with my blogs, you now know that when we are at Walt Disney World we are there to relax. We try to see and do everything we can, but we are on vacation and we enjoy ourselves. If it gets too hot… or if we are tired, we stop back to our resort to relax and refresh. Adult beverages are always in our refrigerator thanks to the Garden Grocer.
After our break you can usually find us at The Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios if DHS has extra magic hours. It’s all about relaxing, timing and two adults having fun with each other at Walt Disney World.
Even better……. contact me if you’d like my help planning your next vacation. I never charge any planning fees. And you won’t pay me any money….. Disney pays me! Now you know why I smile so much!
Questions or comments are welcome. I’ll do my best to help.